How many MBAs does it take to manage a factory of robots?
“It’s the kind of question more of us are asking these days as we hear the predictions, from various credible sources, about how technological advances will transform the workforce,” says Edward D. Hess, a professor at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business. “Most workplaces in the near future will be staffed by a combination of smart robots, machines powered by artificial intelligence and people.”
What does this mean for the “people,” and what will it take to survive in the future world of work? It will require a new smart.
The "New Smart" is not about what or how much you know; it's about how you think and relate to other people, says Hess in Humility is the New Smart, and embodying it will be critical to succeeding in what Hess refers to as the coming "smart machine age."
Hess, who co-authored Humility Is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age (Berrett-Koehler, 2017) with Katherine Ludwig, explains how automation will transform the workplace and perhaps spur people to take a few more bites of humble pie.
Staying relevant will require “skills that technology isn't able to do well (at least not yet)—critical and innovative thinking, and emotionally engaging with others in ways that build trust, for example. If you reflect on the behavior and mindset needed to excel in those areas, you'll notice that they all require an open mind and a quiet ego.”
What will be the competitive differentiator for employers when raw technology is cheap and widely available? “I believe it will be the quality of your human workforce’s cognitive and emotional skills,” says Hess, “having employees who are able to think, relate and learn continuously.”
How will this affect HR? Hess says that “HR practitioners should be concerned about their organizations' ability to prioritize a new set of skills, while also transforming their own roles. Currently, many people who work in HR are more compliance-oriented than adept at human development.” “I believe in the Smart Machine Age, HR will become HD – Human Development,” says Hess.
Hess adds that “HR should start to look at hiring differently…incorporate more data-driven testing and behavioral interviews -- not just with their potential boss and HR, but with the employees who will be working with them on teams. The hiring decision will be largely consensus-driven, and the hiring team will need to assess open-mindedness, resiliency, an individual's willingness to be wrong, listening ability and innovative thinking…. Moreover, once people are hired, there will be no more of this annual review stuff. Feedback will be given to employees daily and after every meeting. Everything workers do will be documented at each step of the way.” Hess says that “Feedback will be recast as learning – Post Action Reviews will become daily standard operating procedures.
Technology will reduce headcount dramatically in many companies. Ironically, technology will humanize business –businesses will have to become more people-centric based on foundational human learning psychological principles. Many companies will need to transform their culture and leadership model. People become even more important in the Smart Machine Age.
How are you preparing for the new age of smart machines?
Please join @shrmnextchat at 3 p.m. ET on August 23 for #Nextchat with special guest Edward D. Hess @HessEdward. We'll chat about HR's role in the Smart Machine Age.
Q1. How many MBAs does it take to manage a factory of robots?
Q2. What is your greatest concern about how the workforce will be shaped by automation over the next 15 years?
Q3. How are automation and artificial intelligence affecting the way you do your job as an HR professional or as an HR department?
Q4. Which phase of the employee life cycle has HR technology/automation impacted the most?
Q5. How can HR evolve the talent acquisition process for a greater emphasis on assessing a candidate’s emotional intelligence, open-mindedness, resiliency, listening ability and innovative thinking?
Q6. What types of behavioral or other testing are you conducting to ensure you’re hiring the emotional intelligence, critical thinking and humility needed for success in the new smart age of machines?
Q7. Why will HR become HD (Human Development) and how will this impact workplace culture and leadership models?
Q8. What are the most important questions HR can ask as they plan their career development spanning the next 15 years?
If you missed this #Nextchat you can read the RECAP with all the tweets here.